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A former Alcatel executive has pleaded guilty to paying more than $2.5 million in bribes to secure a telephone contract with Costa Rica's state telecommunications agency, the U.S. Department of Justice said Thursday. Christian Sapsizian pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and violating the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act at U.S. District Court in Miami, the DOJ said in a statement. He is set to be sentenced on December 20 and now faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and $580,000 in fines.

According to the DOJ, Sapsizian admitted to paying the bribes to a director at Costa Rica's Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, in order to secure mobile telephone contracts for his company. Alcatel was eventually awarded a $149 million mobile phone contract in August 2001, the department said.

Sapsizian had been employed by Alcatel and its subsidiaries for more than 20 years. Alcatel merged with Lucent Technologies in late 2006 and the joint company is now known as Alcatel-Lucent.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation continues to investigate the matter, the DOJ said.


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